EVA and everything related to EVA is copyrighted by Gainax/Project EVA 1995-2004. This story is owned by me and my flying octopi. Nothing legal about my ownership, besides my name on it. Intellectual property. **************************************************************************** "Do you require something?" Ayanami Rei sat in room 303, looking down at the body of Soryu Asuka Langley. The German was blindly staring at her counterpart, as if in a trance. "Soryu?" Rei's quiet voice barely managed to penetrate Asuka thoughts. "Huh?" "Do you require something?" the other girl asked again patiently. "Uh, no, I don't think so. I was just thinking about something..." The red eyes blinked once, then began to wander around the room again. "And you can call me Asuka, alright?" "Yes." Asuka waited for more of a response, but mentally shrugged when none came. "She sure is strange," Asuka thought. "But then again, I'm probably strange to her." Some quiet minutes passed. Random thoughts passed through the girls' minds, but they weren't very similar. "Why are you here, anyway?" "What do you mean?" "Why are you in my hospital room? Why are you here?" Silence followed as Rei processed the questions. "I thought, perhaps, that you would like some company." "You *thought*?!" Rei stared at Asuka, confused. "You mean, no one told you to come here? You just, poof, decided to come and give me some company? No one ordered you to come here?" "... I was not aware of such an order." Asuka smiled confidently. "OK, maybe you aren't so bad, after all." Rei's confusion only grew, but she decided against pursuing the conversation further. "Are you sure Shinji didn't ask you to come or something like that?" "No, I have not seen pilot Ikari for quite some time."
SUBCAPTION A: THIRD JUDGMENT: -< 6 >-
"You selected the Sixth," Fuyutsuki deadpanned. "Actually, it was quite easy. She stood out from many other possible pilots. She fits most of the requirements-" "I heard her father made quite a splash trying to stop us. The UN had to intervene, especially since she wasn't one of the candidates we had gathered in Tokyo-3." "Being rich in a political past has its advantages. As well as being rich in the way of money," Ikari said dryly. "Oh yes, her father was one of the original investors in Gerhirn, isn't that correct? I remember that man now. A pompous, arrogant man, if I recall." "Yes." "Sounds as if you've seen him recently." "Yes, I attended the UN meeting he appeared at. We exchanged... pleasantries. Also, I was made aware of another fact at the meeting. The Sixth has already begun training at the Matsushiro base." "Impossible. The EVA series has already been completed moved out-" "Unit 14." Fuyutsuki's eyes widened, if only for a second. "What? I thought you had canceled that project-" "I did. Nevertheless, with our current situation I ordered it finished. Through these actions, we can still afford to let the Second recover at a more natural pace, as well as continue the regeneration of Unit 03." "What of Unit 00? The bio-parts salvaged are enough to coax a total regeneration," the professor offered. "Yes, that is true. But by any means, that would put us in a position where we are lacking a pilot instead of an EVA." "It could be used as a backup," the professor opted. "Impossible. Synchronizing with two separate EVAs can only lead to mental contamination. We must wisely use the assets we have." "And the time you've bought is one of these assets?" "Correct." "But how can we prepare for an enemy with as much force as SEELE? We don't have enough tiles at this time." "I am in the process of winning more." "I recommend against bringing another new Children here, if that's what you're referring to, Ikari." "No." "Then what?" "You are aware that Unit 03 is not the only one of Akagi's little children. Her other projects are also rapidly becoming available to us." "Such as? I had no idea she had progressed so far as to be used in a battle situation." "Massive strides forward have been taken to counteract the downfalls experienced earlier. The losses of Units 03 and 04 were tremendous losses of time and money on our part. Those EVAs turned out to be SEELE's pawns." "Just as all of us once were." ---
Three days later... --- "Here's the dossier on the Sixth." Ritsuko handed the thin, unmarked manilla folder to Misato. They both sat in Misato's car, which was parked on one of the newly created parking lots that dotted Tokyo-3. Misato unclipped the folder and pulled out the top document. "Terakawa Izumi. I thought you said it was a boy?" "Commander Ikari told me it was a boy. But you know him, he lies for absolutely no reason..." Misato looked over the rest of the top file. Name: Terakawa Izumi Age: 15 Birthdate: 2000.11.20 Mother: deceased Father: Terakawa Eiji
"Only basic data," Misato complained. "Did you notice her father's name?" "Yea. So?" "Sound familiar?" Misato shook her head. "He was one of the few private investors of Project-E." "So he funded part of the original experimentation." "Yes, and he is still funding the secondary testing at Matsushiro." "You're implying that they rebuilt it, too?" Misato said quietly. Bad memories of that place suddenly surfaced. "Yes, and Terakawa funded most of that as well." Misato flipped through more of the papers, pulling out one or two when they seemed interesting. "Says here that she's already a designated pilot for... Unit 14?! Ritsuko, what does that mean, huh? They built one without our knowledge?" Akagi sighed, but shook her head. "No, Ikari ordered its construction, and it was finished several days ago. Her father immediately placed her as its pilot and began basic training. Of course, NERV isn't officially supervising the training, and Unit 14 is the only EVA that I didn't have some part in designing besides the original one. Her father made a very big deal about Ikari choosing her as the Sixth." "So he wanted her to be a pilot, but not a pilot for NERV, huh?" "I guess so. It's amazing what people will do to further themselves in the minds of others. Oh, and her father even went as far as to request the UN to personally step in and stop the acquisition." "That's outrageous. Just because someone has money doesn't mean they can resist NERV taking their child to save the world... Well, maybe I can understand that, but going to the UN? That's out of his league. I mean, we're supposed to be saving the world, for God's sake." "Well, they thought the same thing. They denied his request, but they did give the girl her own special guardian, from outside NERV." "They gave her a guardian from the UN?" Misato deadpanned. Akagi nodded and sighed. "We can't allow someone like that to come inside NERV headquarters! That entire area is off-limits! The entire Geofront can't be accessed by anyone who doesn't work for NERV! We can't break such rules; it's unacceptable. I reject that idea in total." "It isn't our decision to make. To make it simple, since Terakawa couldn't keep his daughter from NERV, he won't let us have Unit 14 unless the UN guardian is let into headquarters. Ikari agreed to it already." Misato shoved herself further down into her seat and crossed her arms. "Seems like the only reason Ikari keeps me around is to watch his kid," Misato grumbled. "The UN guardian is probably just a spy for SEELE, anyways." "Have you told Shinji yet? About there being another Children?" "No." "Really? That's surprising. I expected more from you, Major." Misato stared out the car's windshield. The sun was setting just over the mountains. "I haven't seen him lately." "Shouldn't you tell him, though? You are his guardian, after all." "... I guess. I was going to anyway, when I got home, but I'll just call him now to make you happy. We can go back to the bar then." --- --- "Misato's still gone," Shinji said quietly, venturing out of his room again. As much as he was still afraid of confronting Misato, he wanted to see his guardian again, the way he used to. Shinji began preparing a small meal for himself, but a tinny ringing soon filled the apartment. The Third Children immediately recognized the noise. "My phone? I thought I'd let the battery run down..." He went into the room and retrieved the cell phone. "Hello?" he said gingerly, not sure who was on the other end. "This is Shinji." "Hi. It's me." "Misato-san... What is it?" "I have some information to pass on to you. They are bringing the Sixth Children to NERV." Shinji frowned in the darkness of his room. "The Sixth? But... why would my father do that?" "I have no idea! You expect me to know your father's motives?" "... No." "OK, then we agree. Also, I'd like it if you'd tell Asuka." Shinji looked around the room in confusion. "Uh, sorry if this sound stupid, but what do you mean by that?" "*Tell*Asuka*. How difficult can that be to understand?" "Um, alright... if that's what you want... I don't think she can hear us right now, though..." "Whaaat are you talking about?" Shinji was beginning to wonder if Misato'd totally lost it. "She's... in a coma. I thought you knew that, Misato..." "Oh, duh! Sorry, Shinji-kun, I guess I have another little piece of info for you." Shinji waited patiently, waiting for Misato to clear up her forgetfullness.
CAPTION B: NEON GENESIS EVANGELION: DAY OF JUDGMENT EPISODE 27 Symbiosis
"Shinji! You're finally here," Asuka exclaimed, a wide grin crossing her face. The Third had just burst into her hospital room, and had then proceeded to stare in awe at the girl. "Don't do that, pervert!" "Asuka... You're alright... I... I mean... Hi." For the first time in weeks, Shinji smiled. "Idiot, of course I'm alright. Besides the fact that I hate being here, everything's fine with me. But what took you so long?" "Well, I-" "I mean, I expected you to be the first one here, but no! First Misato came to check on me, then Ritsuko gave me some tests to make sure my brainwaves hadn't changed, and then *Wondergirl* even came and sat there like a rock for a while. But the whole time I just kept thinking, 'That bumbling stooge Ikari's gonna burst in here any minute.' But no, you never came." Asuka looked angrily towards Shinji, her arms folded across her chest. Shinji wasn't sure whether to be sorry he didn't come, or to be happy Asuka was her old self again. "I... That is, Misato only just told me a little while ago. I came down here as soon as I heard," Shinji explained. "What, were you locked in your room the whole time?" Shinji shrugged, embarassed at how true that statment was. "Kind of." He didn't mention that he'd locked himself in his room. "Well, don't think that makes it all better. It's bad enough sitting here with the First, but it's even worse when I'm alone. This place isn't very friendly to a woman who just got out of a coma." "I know. I don't really like hospitals..." The anger had deserted the redhead's face, and she too began to smile back at Shinji. "It's good to see you again, Shinji." "Yea, it's nice to see you, too. Oh, I just remembered." "Remembered what?" "Misato called me. She had a message to relay to you..." "Spit it out! I'm so far behind on the times it's not even funny!" "They, uh... My father... NERV.... found the Sixth." "Unit 06? So what? Isn't that one part of the mass-production series?" "No, I meant... I meant to say... They found the Sixth Children." --- One month later... --- Misato and Ritsuko stood before their commanding officers in their office, giving the daily reports. "At the special NERV F-type equipment docking area 459, which is outside Tokyo-3, Unit 14 was transported to NERV HQ at 0:900 according to schedule. It's pilot also arrived on schedule from Matsushiro at 14:00. She was brought aboard a NERV escort car and also moved to the Geofront for preliminary testing as of 15:45 today," Misato read. Ritsuko then took over. "Second Children had recovered enough that she was able to be placed on active duty again, and resumed testing in EVA Unit 02 today. Even though the personal data patterns were slightly changed and modified to more easily synch with her new brain waves, her synchro-rate still refused to rise beyond 30%." Neither of them mentioned how angry Asuka was when she heard her results. "Third Children also returned to Unit 01 for the usual rounds of tests, surpassing 75% as usual, peaking at 82.6" "His mood was increasingly better than it has been in past weeks. I believe that it has something to do with the reconstruction. Many of Shinji's classmates are moving back into the city, and his school is scheduled to reopen soon," Misato finished. "Very well. That is all." --- --- Suzuhara Touji, after several complications, had received his biomechanical arm and leg, which were attached soon after. He was spending a large quantity of his time trying to learn to use his new appendages, which were built using the same technologies used to create EVA's interface. Misato, knowing that Shinji still harbored intense feelings of responsibility for the horrible things done to one of his friends, had invited the boy over on a particularly warm afternoon. Misato had decided not to inform Shinji ahead of time... "Gee, thanks for the ride, Misato-san. You're--! I mean, it's hot..." Suzuhara stated as they reached the door labelled 'Katsuragi'. "It's no problem. I'm just thankful that my car's air conditioning is as good as its acceleration," Misato said, smiling at the young boy. She slid her card through the acceptor and entered the passcode. The door opened, and the pair stepped inside. "I'm home!" Misato said in a strangely happy voice. "Welcome home." The voice of Shinji from further inside the apartment seemed to affect Touji somehow. "I didn't know you worked today." As his voice became continually closer, Touji's confidence shrunk smaller. He almost thought about just running out, but the door slid closed behind him. Plus Misato-san would think he was a coward. As Shinji finally came into Touji's view, Suzuhara froze. As did Shinji when he noticed Touji standing beside Misato. The two stood there in Misato's apartment, staring at each other for several agonizingly long seconds before anything happened. "Hey, Shinji. What's up?" Touji asked quietly. He knew Shinji'd feel sorely about what happened. Shinji was the kind of person who took on too much responsibility for his actions- whether they were truly his or not. "Hi, Touji," Shinji whispered. Touji watched as Shinji's eyes moved to the biomechanical arm and leg, then to Misato, then back to Touji. "Uh, please come in." "Yea, Suzuhara, please make yourself at home," Misato said in a tone far more confident than either of the boys'. The Major led the boys into the living room, and all three sat down. However, as soon as Touji and Shinji were seated (Misato noticed that Shinji had purposely not sat too near to his friend), Misato stood again. "Well, I have to go get some groceries. I'm sure you two can find something to talk about," she said quickly before rushing out. Both young men watched Misato leave. Shinji watched in disbelief, figuring out that Misato had brought Touji here so he could clear things up with his friend. Touji watched Misato because... Well, you know. "It was nice seeing Misato again," Touji said dreamily. "And its good to see you again, too, Shinji. How's it been going?" "I'm good. How's your sister?" "She's almost totally done with that place. Thanks for asking." More deathly silence followed. "So, I heard Asuka was out of her coma." "Yep. She should be coming home pretty soon, too." Touji smiled a little, but he was still very nervous. "I know it sounds odd, but I'm almost glad. Without that demon yelling all the time, school would be kinda boring." "Yea..." Shinji nervously looked around the room, trying to find some way to make his point. "... Do they hurt?" "Huh?" "Your... arm and leg." "No. I never really felt too much pain." "That's good... I... I mean to say..." Touji finally looked Shinji straight in the eyes at the same moment Shinji did the same. "I don't hold any of it against you, ya know. Misato told me that you weren't controlling the EVA when it attacked Unit 03. I don't blame you at all," Touji explained. It was one of the few times Shinji had seen the boy truly serious. "I know, but... I could have-" "Misato also told me that there was no possible way for you to stop it. I know that EVA-03 was infected with an Angel, so I'm glad that it was defeated before it hurt anyone else." Shinji forced his eyes away from his friend's gaze. "But... I still feel like... I could have done something. I mean, you lost an arm and a leg, and for what? So an Angel could be defeated? The EVA didn't have to break the entry plug. If anything, I should have at least stopped that one movement..." Touji just waved his hand in the air. "Forget about it. My father yelled at Doctor Akagi for several weeks in a row for programming the dummyplug that way. But, at least NERV gave us quite a nice little compensation package, as well as helping my sister recover at no cost. And with the money I'm receiving from getting a new arm and leg, I can say that my family's set for quite a while." "...Maybe money can buy happiness..." "No, no way! That's why I'm not out buying expensive shoes or something right now. That's why my father and grandfather haven't quite their jobs. We don't want to force ourselves to believe that having more than enough money can make our lives better. Sure, I mean we can pinch a few less pennies, but I don't want too much to change," Touji explained. "I... I'm glad you don't hold a grudge, Touji." "Oh, I hold a grudge, alright," the other boy suddenly growled. Shinji's eyes widened, but Suzuhara just smiled. "I hold a huge grudge against that dummyplug system!" As Shinji realized what his friend meant, a small smile broke onto his face. "I mean, I guess holding a grudge against a machine is kinda stupid, but I'm thick-headed enough that it makes sense." For the first time in days, Ikari Shinji began to laugh. "Yep. I don't hold a single thing against you, Ikari, except that you never came to visit me! But I guessed that you'd feel that way, so I didn't mind too much." "Hey, do you know if Kensuke's moving back?" "Of course! Even if his parent's weren't planning on it, so you think he'd be able to stay so far from the military wonders of EVA?" --- --- Inside NERV HQ, Fuyutsuki and Ikari stood on the unbilican bridge of the EVA Unit 14, newly moved to the third cage. "It's not a terribly original design," Fuyutsuki commented, looking at the new EVA. "Terakawa's scientists must have gotten the design from Units 00 and 01." The deep blue EVA stood neck-deep in pink stasis fluid, held tightly by the restraints of the cage. "What of the Sixth?" Fuyutsuki asked, his deep voice echoing around the huge room. "She arrived shortly after this EVA. I believe Doctor Akagi is giving her the preliminary tests for piloting. Lieutenants Hyuga and Aoba are going to begin analyzing this Unit in three hours." "... And her guardian?" the professor asked in a lower tone. "I have only received small amounts of data. Her name is Kaima Maru, and she is a member of the UN group called 'Linear Operations'." "Really? I never heard of that organization." Ikari made no response. "Have you?" "Yes." Fuyutsuki could see that Ikari was hiding something, but now was neither the time nor the place to pry. "What is the possibility that she's simply another SEELE spy?" "MAGI say it's impossible to tell with the given information, and I cannot make a better judgment. Given our current situation, though, it is not out of the question to believe it." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- To be continued...